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CAUT Bulletin Archives

March 2007

UNBC Plans to Reduce Faculty Numbers

With the euphemism, “workforce adjustment plan” the board of governors at the University of Northern British Columbia recently approved a process to reduce the full-time faculty complement by up to 10 per cent over the next three years.

Part of the new plan calls for eliminating 20 to 25 positions through voluntary buy-out packages and early retirement incentives in programs targeted by the board, and through a university-wide buy-out offer, subject to board approval.

Faculty association president Darwyn Coxson said the loss of faculty members, many of whom were specifically recruited to help UNBC meet its mandate to serve northern BC, will have “a major impact on designated programs.”

He said his association strongly protested to the board over its initial unilateral decision to cut positions, and successfully negotiated a process to fend-off pressure on individuals to take buy-outs.

Along with the job cuts, UNBC also announced it was temporarily suspending new admissions to the bachelor’s degree programs in women’s studies, economics, physics and northern studies this fall, citing concerns over available fiscal and personnel resources.

The measure may violate BC’s University Act, Coxson said. “We’re deeply disappointed in UNBC’s decision to suspend enrolment. We urge the administration to withdraw its decision pending a full discussion and decision by senate.”